Chelsea’s Giroud: I did everything to leave, Inter first choice

Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud has said he did everything to leave Chelsea in January due to a lack of playing time and remains hopeful of a Euro 2020 squad role with France after embracing his new lease of life under Frank Lampard.

The 33-year-old has scored two goals in six appearances across all competitions since coming back into the side in February, but came close to leaving the club in the winter transfer window.

“I saw myself elsewhere after experiencing a complicated six months,” Giroud told TF1’s Telefoot. “I did everything I could to leave Chelsea, but they did not want to let me go unless they could get a replacement.

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“Inter Milan was my priority with contacts, as well as Lazio and Tottenham Hotspur. However, the circumstances brought Chelsea to block me. It was not my choice.”

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Giroud also said that Ligue 1 side Lyon showed an interest in bringing him back to France, while a conversation with Didier Deschamps helped to rule out a Major League Soccer switch.

“[Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas] did call me,” the France international said. “I told him that I was flattered but that my priority, at the time, was Inter.

“Didier Deschamps warned me. We briefly spoke about MLS, and no, that was not an option for me if I wanted to be at the Euros.”

Giroud said he was happy with manager Lampard for keeping his promise of increased game time and refuted the idea that going on strike was considered to force through a move.

“Aside from that, either you sulk, or you come back fighting to win your place back,” the former Arsenal man said. “The coach promised me more playing time, and he has kept his word.

“I simply took my chance. I knew that it was unwise to go on strike, or to try and mess with the atmosphere in the dressing room. That is not me, and I also knew that there was a large chance that I would stay at Chelsea.”

Giroud’s goals against Tottenham and Everton have helped Chelsea to seven points from a possible 15 since he returned to action in February, having not featured since November.

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